2019 South Africa Annual Conference

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Location of conference gathering: Balasi Pastoral Charge in Eastern Cape Province

Dates of conference gathering: Nov. 21-24, 2019

Officiating bishop: Bishop Joaquina F. Nhanhala

Guest speakers and memorable points or quotes by speakers: 

The Rev. Gary Henderson, Chief Relationship Officer with United Methodist Communications, told the conference about the importance of communication and sharing the church’s story. He encouraged church members to learn more about their church and seek inspiration from the work and ministries of other conferences.   

Resolutions adopted by the conference:

• The issue of minutes should be taken seriously and submitted on time to the secretary.

• That Memolody Preaching Point in Tswane Circuit become a local church effective Jan. 1, 2020, due to growth.

• That Kempton Park Preaching Point become a local church effective Jan. 1, 2020.

• That the conference must be responsible for organizing and contributing toward the annual cabinet vacations.

• That there should be one or more members from all boards who will provide the board of communications with the information they need to keep the conference Facebook page and website active.

• The evangelism director and the committee will develop a program for revivals from districts to charge levels.

• That the conference have an annual membership target.

• That the church be involved in community activities to bring more souls to Christ.

Five people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership: 

Pastor Sonwabo Mthanyana, 38 
Pastor Andile Marwarwa, 24 
Pastor Brain Marimira, 35  
Pastor Shaylet Mahondo, 39 
The Rev. Loyiso Mgojo, 42  

Names of delegates for 2020 General Conference:

The Rev. Nobuhle Sphiva (clergy)
Abel Mandeya (lay)

Was there a push at your conference to elect younger delegates? No. 

How many delegates under 35 were elected and what are their names and ages? None

Did the conference develop plans or policies for churches that are interested in leaving the denomination? No

Did your bishop address church unity? Yes

Number of clergy retired: Zero

Membership stands at 13,000. 

Worship attendance stands at 10,000. 

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2019: 13,000

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2019: 6,000

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2019: 850

What did your annual conference do to reinforce the Four Areas of Focus, and what commitments has the conference made for the coming year?  

Leadership development:

We had several trainings on leadership and development for laity, clergy, organization leaders and board members.

• Our lay servants have registered at Seth Mokotimi Methodist Seminar for their two-year certificates in theology.

• We have three preschools and daycares for our church children and the community with new members enrolled each year.

• Our young adult members hold computer literacy and driver’s license training for church youth and members of the community.

• SAAC holds training for all church leaders in leadership and development at the beginning of each year.

Congregational development:

SAAC is one of the smallest conferences in The United Methodist Church. We have small churches in the rural areas or townships, large churches that we call pastoral charges, and local churches in rural and urban areas. We focus on a number of things to develop our congregations.

• We have new churches under construction in the Eastern Cape Province and in Durban.

• The church is focused on revivals that help lead our congregation to grow and develop. 

• We opened new branches in Johannesburg. The evangelism committee invites new members through various evangelism strategies.

• We are fostering a culture of transparency to our members.

Ministries with the poor:

Poverty and unemployment in South Africa are a huge problem, especially in rural areas where most of our churches are located. 

• SAAC has embarked on agriculture and farming projects to help the conference generate funds and grow. 
• Our young adult organization is running a soup kitchen to serve those who are less fortunate. We intend to equip/train United Methodist young leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge to participate in the agricultural sector to play a role in protecting the church and community’s future.

Global health:

• Health workshops and trainings within the conference have been held. We create awareness for United Methodist members and the communities on how to fight chronic diseases and other health issues.

• Our churches visit sick people at their homes and in the hospitals to give them a word of encouragement. Our health board leaders emphasize healthy living and the importance of exercising and drinking water to lower the risk of some diseases.

• Our young people share strategies on how to overcome various challenges faced by their peers living with chronic diseases that sometimes lead to obesity and depression. 

• Sunday school workshops about healthy eating and proper hygiene have been held.

— Nandipha Mkwalo is a communicator for the South Africa Conference.

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